23 Mar 2015

Council proposes cuts to gallery budget

7:48 pm on 23 March 2015

A proposed funding cut by the Christchurch City Council to the Christchurch Art Gallery's budget means it will have rely more on donations and bequests to buy new works.

Work begins on re-levelling the earthquake-damaged Christchurch art gallery.

Work begins on re-levelling the earthquake-damaged Christchurch Art Gallery. Photo: SUPPLIED

In the Christchurch City Council's long-term plan, the gallery's grant for buying art would be cut from $250,000 to $80,000 a year.

The Challenge Grant, where the council matches funds raised by the gallery's foundation up to $220,000 a year, would remain.

The gallery, which is located in the central city, is currently closed for repairs and is expected to re-open later this year.

The gallery's director, Jenny Harper, said the proposed 6 percent budget cut was not unexpected, considering the council's current financial situation.

"Everyone under the council's umbrella is facing the same cuts, it is hard when there are so many organisations asking for the same amount of money."

She said the gallery would have to focus on alternative ways to get new art.

"We will have to fundraise a lot more and rely heavily on donations and bequests."

Ms Harper said the gallery was an important part of the city and over the years had gained a great collection of work.

She said, before the earthquake, the gallery attracted more than 700,000 people every year.

"We attracted a huge amount of visitors compared to the size of our city, more than any other gallery in New Zealand."

The funding cuts would mean the gallery would show 12 exhibitions a year instead of 18, creating a saving of $22,000 for the Christchurch City Council.

The long-term plan also outlines expected performance targets, including increasing visitor numbers and visitor satisfaction.

The plan is open for public submission until April.

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